Wednesday, November 21, 2012


The Milwaukee area is home to two Roman Catholic basilicas, St. Josephat's on the south side of Milwaukee, which I have visited a couple of times to take photos, and Holy Hill, located about 30 miles northwest of downtown Milwaukee in Hubertus.  The basilica is located on one of the highest spots in southeastern Wisconsin and on a clear day can be seen from Milwaukee's downtown office buildings.  I can recall visiting the basilica not long after we moved to Milwaukee over 35 years ago and perhaps one other time.  Tuesday, November 20, was a warm and bright day, and I decided to pay another visit to the shrine that afternoon.  I had a good time, taking about 125 shots and keeping about 50.  I thought I would create a couple of posts, one on the exterior and one on the interior.

It is not easy to capture the entire basilica in a single shot because it is located at the top of a hill and is surrounded by fairly heavy woods.  Here is a shot taken from the road leading to the basilica.

I think you get the idea.  Of course, it would have been better had I taken this shot in the morning when the sun would have been off to the left rather than behind the basilica.  About the only ways to get a good shot of the whole structure would have involved either a very long telephoto or a fly-over.

The basilica is built at the top of a fairly steep hill, so even though there is a fairly large pavilion outside of the front entrance to the church, it still makes it difficult to try to capture any of the steeples.  The following shot illustrates that problem.

But i did manage to capture the steeple at the back of the church from a parking area down the hill.

So basically in terms of exterior shots I was limited to the front entrance area.  Here is the best I could do with the camera and lenses that I have.

Obviously, this shot doesn't include the peak of the front facade and has some perspective issues.  I spent a lot of time making sure the camera was positioned directly on the midpoint.

The sun was providing nice contrasting shadows at the front entrance, so I spent a fair amount of time shooting some of those details, as in the following shots, which were taken hand-held.

I thought this last shot worked well as a B&W also.

I also wanted to get a close-up of the front doors.  Just as I took the shot, some guy walked out and immediately apologized.  I just waited for the door to close and retook it.

The door handles are (mirror image) identical but the handle on the right appears to get a lot more use.

There are various statues scattered around the grounds, but I just didn't feel inspired, in part because they are not in great repair..

I took this shot with the aperture at a wide open f/4 to minimize the distractions in the background.  Even so, I could not eliminate some distracting utility wiring behind the statue.

Construction on the basilica began on 1926 and was completed in 1931.

Taken with my Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 lens and Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 lens.

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